Andrew Bolt’s Latest Column Condemns Bias In The Media; The World Implodes From Irony


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Despite being “Australia’s most-read columnist”, it’s usually not worth giving too much thought or attention to the work of Andrew Bolt. At some point, most Australians realise he’s just a thing you have to begrudgingly put up with, like rogue glitter after a kid’s birthday party or an impulsive henna tattoo. Sure, in an ideal world, these things wouldn’t exist, but for now we’ll just have to ignore them until they go away.

But sometimes, in his incessant and never-ending deluge of daily jingoisms and smug eyebrow-raises miraculously presented in the form of words, Bolt will deliver something that simply cannot be ignored. Sometimes this is because he’s breached the Racial Discrimination Act with an insensitive column named after a track from Huey Lewis and the News, but sometimes it’s a something a little more subtle.

Published in this morning’s Daily Telegraph, Herald Sun, Courier Mail and Advertiser, Andrew Bolt’s latest column is a tirade against the scourge of bias in the Australian media.

“This cannot go on, not in a healthy democracy,” he said, as self-appointed moral authority on the issue.

In case you were wondering the “this” in that sentence is the media being critical of the government and no, nowhere in his full 800 words on the matter does he mention a single News Corp publication.

Instead, today’s column entitled ‘Bias Against PM Is Truly Sickening’ took aim at the ABC.

Though often faced with allegations of left-wing bias, the organisation was this week in the spotlight for a few specific moments that may have broken the station’s guidelines. Most notably this included an interview with Joe Hockey from last year.

The segment with Walkley Award-winning journalist Sarah Ferguson has been put under review, with former Fairfax journo Colleen Ryan deciding it “could have been interpreted by some viewers to be a potential breach of the ABC’s impartiality guidelines” due to Ferguson’s “emotive” tone. But most in the industry, from the ABC and otherwise, have denounced the review’s findings, arguing they are potentially detrimental to the state of journalism at large. Many believe we should instead be celebrating Ferguson’s hard-hitting style of questioning.

I mean, who starts an interview by asking “[if] it’s liberating for a politician to decide that election promises don’t matter”? A goddamned boss, that’s who.

But, though Bolt’s colleagues like fellow Herald Sun columnist Laurie Oakes and The Australian‘s controversial media editor Sharri Markson, have spoken out against the review and openly praised the ABC reporter in question, Andrew Bolt has decided he should be the one to tell Australia the truth.

“The ABC is trying to destroy Tony Abbott,” Bolt said, in what I assume is the same voice as Chris Crocker used when asking people to “Leave Britney Alone” . “Its bias — actually unlawful — has never been so ruthless.”

The piece then runs through the instances of potential bias that were outlined by the ABC-commissioned review including Ferguson’s interview, a similar line of questioning from Emma Alberici on Lateline, and segments on both 7.30 and The Drum that supposedly didn’t give enough spotlight to conservative viewpoints. Of course, he then goes on to say the same about Insiders, John Faine, Tony Jones, and anyone else who dared to criticise Abbott after the “tiny cuts [he made] to the ABC’s bloated budget”.

In case you missed the controversy about those “tiny cuts” which were made to the ABC, here’s a very objective re-enactment:

Bolt explains the stretch of this treachery by describing the ABC as “the country’s biggest media monolith … with four TV stations, five radio stations, an online newspaper and a publishing house”. At one point he casually personifies it as a hideous sea monster by speaking of the personal Twitter accounts of triple j reporters as its “tentacles”.

This is of course stated with no mention of the fact that Bolt’s long-time employer News Corp Australia currently owns two national, 15 metro and eight regional newspapers, five sports titles, five business publications, 21 local titles, and 39 lifestyle magazines; not to mention its larger overseas players in the film and television industries including Twentieth Century Fox and Fox Broadcasting Company.

But hey, he probably deserves the benefit of the doubt.

Andrew Bolt is a tireless warrior for objectivity and sensitivity.

Andrew Bolt is a respected professional.

Andrew Bolt is so respected that the PM even calls him “a friend”!

Andrew Bolt is the hard-hitting journalist this great nation needs.

And while many have jumped on his piece as a ridiculous example of blatant hypocrisy or an inadvisable oversight, I have an alternative idea.

Wouldn’t it be better if this were some kind of vast and elaborate Clickhole-style take on the nature of the media at large? Wouldn’t it be a relief if Andrew Bolt turned around and admitted he actually believes in climate change and the stolen generations? It’s all okay! He was just punking us like a bored genius conducting a long and elaborate social experiment!

If so, I’m calling it: The Herald Sun is the best satirical publication in the country

Feature image via Stephanie Mayne/Twitter.